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Monday, 02 December 2013

SYRIAN-ARMENIANS IN NKR BENEFIT FROM AGBU AGRICULTURAL PROGRAM

 

Civil war in Syria has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their country of residence. Like Syrian civilians, thousands of Syrian-Armenians moved to other countries, including Armenia and Artsakh. A couple of dozen Syrian-Armenian families, many from Kamishli, have made new homes in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. Some are living in Berdzor - the regional center of Kashatagh (Lachin) or Ishkhanadzor, while the majority live in Kovsakan. The NKR Government and others have implemented various projects to support resettlement in Kovsakan, solve housing and other problems. Several families have already been provided with apartments; in addition, an apartment building is being built. 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

SYRIAN-ARMENIAN RELIEF COORDINATION CENTER NGO CELEBRATES 1ST ANNIVERSARY

 

On October 7, Syrian-Armenian Relief Coordination Center NGO celebrated its 1st anniversary. On this occasion, the NGO hosted a reception attended by RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan, Executive Director of the NGO Lena Halajian, AGBU Central Board Member Vasken Yacoubian, AGBU Armenia Director Arpi Vartanian, UNHCR Representative Christoph Bierwirth, representatives from the Ministry of Diaspora, clergymen, Syrian-Armenians, and others. The Minister thanked individuals and organizations for their humanitarian and patriotic activities, as well as for preserving the Armenian identity.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

TUITION ASSISTANCE TO SYRIAN-ARMENIAN STUDENTS

 

On October 2, the RA Diaspora Ministry, the RA Education and Science Ministry, the Armenian General Benevolent Union and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation issued the following joint statement about launching a tuition-assistance program for Syrian-Armenians studying at Armenia’s colleges and universities. Within the framework of programs supporting Syrian-Armenians who have moved to Armenia as a result of the latest developments in Syria, the RA Ministry of Diaspora, the RA Ministry of Education and Science, the Armenian General Benevolent Union and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation announce the launch of a tuition assistance program for Syrian-Armenians studying at Armenia’s colleges and universities during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Wednesday, 09 October 2013

SYRIA IN MY MEMORIES

 

 

 

Organized and sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), and with the blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Syria in My Memories, a charity exhibition-sale of well-known Syrian-Armenian photographer Vahe Shahinian opened at the Hovhannes Tumanyan Museum on September 30, with over 300 people in attendance. Special thanks to longtime AGBU member and supporter, Syrian-Armenian Sarkis Kazanjian who contributed to the success of the event. All proceeds from the sale will be used for programs assisting Syrian-Armenians who have moved to Armenia as a result of the conflict. Syria, confronted with war and desolation today, was presented in all its previous charm and beauty. Through more than 150 photographs, the artist presented a selection of his work over the last 30 years. He confessed that, because of the war, he has not even touched a camera in the last three years. “I would like Armenians here (in Armenia) to know that Syria is not a country of war. There was peace in Syria, but now Syria has gone backwards 50 years. Syrian-Armenians that moved to Armenia now must learn to adapt and live here. About 20-30,000 Armenians are still in Syria. But living in Syria today is a matter of fate; you do not know what will happen next. I reject war and believe in a promising future for Syria,” said Shahinian emotionally. The exhibition opened with the blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. Shahinian presented a photograph of His Holiness to the Catholicos and thanked him for his pontifical care and enormous help towards Syrian-Armenians, before touring the exhibit and describing the photographs to His Holiness.

Friday, 20 September 2013

FROM FRANCE, THE COUNTRY OF LOVE, TO ARMENIA, LAND OF LIFE

 

 

 

UGAB Jeunes (AGBU Youth of France) kicked off its first Arménie, Terre de Vie (Armenia, Land of Life) project in 2011, when 32 Armenian and French young adults volunteered their time and service to construction, education, environment and health programs in various regions of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh (NKR). Two years later, after careful planning and intensive fundraising, UGAB Jeunes was ready to return to Armenia and undertake a similar mission. Twenty-seven volunteers from France and Belgium, ages 18-30, renovated part of the AGBU and Holy Etchmiadzin Malatya Children’s Center in Yerevan between August 1-30. The building was rundown, and a major wing had no gas or water. Advisor on Culture and Cooperation Issues at the French Embassy in Armenia, Mr. Jean-Michel Kasbarian, who visited the Malatya Center accompanied by AGBU Armenia Director Arpi Vartanian and Deputy Director Hovig Eordekian, stressed the importance of the project and Diasporan involvement in building Armenia’s future. “I am truly happy and impressed to see these French youths implementing a charity project here in Armenia,” said Kasbarian. Not all the volunteers were Armenian. Andy Marie-Luce, one of the French volunteers, remarked, “This program was exciting, exhausting and satisfying. It has been an unforgettable experience. We wanted to give something special to the children with our work and gifts, but ultimately, I think we were rewarded with so much more from this experience.”

AUA MATRICULATION CEREMONY

 

 

The first-ever Matriculation Ceremony at the American University of Armenia (AUA) on September 5 marked the launch of the new bachelor’s degree program. Students, faculty, staff, and family gathered to formally welcome the first generation of undergraduate students to the AUA community. The new program offers Bachelor’s degrees in Business, English and Communications, and Computational Sciences. The incoming undergraduate class consists of nearly 300 students from all over the world including Armenia, Belgium, Canada, Georgia, Russia, Syria and the United States. The university has received accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and a license from the RA Ministry of Education and Science to offer this four-year program. As AUA Director of Admissions Arina Zohrabian noted, the majority of the freshmen (170) are in the Business Management Department. The Department of English and Communications has 60 freshmen, while Computational Sciences has 50 incoming students.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

DEMYSTIFYING THE ARMENIAN DIASPORA: AGBU PRESIDENT BERGE SETRAKIAN'S INTERVIEW TO CIVILNET TV

 

On September 4, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, received Mr. Berge Setrakian, President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. A wide range of national and religious issues were discussed during the meeting. His Holiness Karekin II and Mr. Setrakian discussed their concerns about the continued challenging and escalating situation in Syria. Both underscored the critical need for all Armenian national organizations and individuals worldwide to provide assistance to the Syrian-Armenian community.

AGBU ARMENIA SUMS UP THE SUMMER

 

 

AGBU Summer Youth Programs throughout the world offer something for young people of nearly every age group. Over 500 Diasporan youths visited Armenia during the summer of 2013 through AGBU’s Antranik Scout Camp, Yerevan Summer Internship Program, Discover Armenia, Musical Armenia Program, Arménie, Terre de Vie and AGBU School visits. On August 23, AGBU held a press conference at the Noyan Tapan Press Club to summarize and discuss the summer youth programs. AGBU Armenia Director Arpi Vartanian, AGBU Performing Arts Department Director Hayk Arsenyan (New York) and AGBU Diaspora Youth Programs Coordinator Herminé Duzian (France) spoke with members of the media about AGBU programs. “Armenian youth and their education are critically important for us. These young people represent our hope, our faith and our future. Each summer, through various AGBU programs, Diaspora Armenian youth spend three-six weeks in our homeland, work in different companies and organizations, gain knowledge and experience, make new friends and connections, volunteer in community service projects and rediscover their heritage and identity. Through these programs, they become more connected with Armenia and become stronger Armenians,” said Vartanian. 

Monday, 02 September 2013

10TH JUBILEE SEASON OF AGBU’S DISCOVER ARMENIA PROGRAM

 

 

Ten years ago, AGBU’s Discover Armenia Program was launched. Since then, around 300 Diasporan Armenians (ages 15-18), from 20 countries, have discovered Armenia for themselves. This year, 28 youth from Canada, Great Britain, France, Switzerland and the United States gathered in Armenia to help celebrate the program’s 10th anniversary. The 3-week program offers sightseeing, cultural events and meetings with public and social sector representatives. Highlights of the program include the community service component and a 3-day visit to Artsakh. Volunteering on a community service project is an important part of Discover Armenia. Participants are not merely tourists in Armenia - they also give a part of themselves to Armenian society. For many years, Discover Armenia has worked with Fuller Center for Housing Armenia to help families in need.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

AGBU’S MUSICAL ARMENIA PROGRAM PROVIDES NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO YOUNG AND TALENTED ARTISTS

 

 

 

AGBU’s Musical Armenia Program’s (MAP) second annual season took place between July 15-August 3. Seven talented Diasporan Armenians from Bulgaria, Canada and the USA journeyed to their homeland to benefit from the unique opportunity offered by AGBU: spend three weeks in Armenia, participate in training and master classes, attend different cultural events and, at the end of program, perform in their own Gala Concert. The program is designed for people age 18 and above, with some musical knowledge, who are skilled at vocals or playing an instrument, with a desire to expand their musical horizons, and doing it all in their homeland. Participants this year specialized in composition, French horn, harp, percussion, viola, violin and vocals. The intense three-week program included joint classes and one-on-one master classes given by professionals: Anna Mayilyan, Tovmas Poghosyan, Armen Tutunjyan, Alina Pahlevanyan, Gagik Ginosyan, Mher Navoyan, Bagrat Vardanyan, Alexander Kosemyan, Arthur Shahnazaryan, Arusyak Sahakyan and Aram Hovannisyan. New York-based AGBU Performing Arts Department Artistic Director Hayk Arsenyan was in Yerevan and lectured on Armenian composers of the Ottoman Empire. In addition to classes, the participants enjoyed concerts, sightseeing, museums, met famous musicians and artists, socialized with many of their talented peers.

 
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